How to fix Windows 11’s free space required error

by Farhad Pashaei
Farhad Pashaei
Farhad Pashaei
Author
He has spent the last seven years tinkering with laptops, smartphones, printers, and projectors, as well as writing reviews about them. When he isn't writing, you can bet... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Installing Windows 11 has some challenges, and one of them is free space required error.
  • You must have 64GB or more free space on your device to be able to install Windows 11.
  • The easiest method to free up disk space is to delete the Windows.old folder, created after every Windows update.
  • You can either delete the temp folder to clear up space or use third-party software to automatically detect and delete temporary and junk files.

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You must first check that your PC has enough storage space before installing any operating system, including Windows 11, or you may receive a free space required error.

As you may be aware, Microsoft’s newly released OS includes a revamped Start menu, Settings app, Action Center, and a slew of security improvements.

As a result, Windows 11 demands an excessive amount of free space before being installed, which is understandable. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem that can’t be fixed in a few simple steps.

Before we get into the solutions, let’s look at how much space Windows 11 requires. So without further ado, let’s get started.

How much space does Windows 11 installation need?

According to the official Windows 11 requirements, the drive on which you’ll install the operating system must have 64 GB of free space or more.

In other words, 64 GB is the minimum space required to install this newly released operating system.

So, if your computer does not have enough space, you may receive a number of error messages when trying to update to Windows 11 or install it from scratch.

These required error messages are as follows:

  • Windows needs more space
  • Can’t install due to low disk space
  • Get more space with external storage
  • There is not enough free space on the partition (C:)

When receiving these errors, some may think of buying a new computer. But don’t rush; it doesn’t mean you have to buy anything. Instead, there are easy solutions you can apply to become a Windows 11 user.

How can I fix Windows 11 free space required error?

1. Perform a Disk Cleanup

  1. Press the Windows key to open the Start menu.
  2. Type Cleanup in the search box and click on Disk Cleanup.Search for Disk cleanup
  3. After choosing drive C: or any other drive on which your operating system is installed, click OK.Select drive C
  4. Wait until your drive gets scanned. In the following window, click on Clean up system files.System files
  5. Select that drive again, and click OK.Select drive C
  6. After that, choose Previous Windows installation(s) checkbox and hit OKPrevious Win installations

You’ll need to launch the Disk Cleanup if you want to use a Windows built-in tool to erase the old and outdated data in the Windows.old folder.

In order to execute a system restore or a rollback to a previous version of Windows, Windows.old folder stores the essential Windows files.

Although this folder seems helpful, it can take up to 20GB or more space. So, it’s recommended to delete these files to solve the free space required error. 

Using a tool like CCleaner to clean your hard drive is one of the simplest ways to do it. This software is capable of automatically locating and deleting junk and temp files to clear up a significant amount of space.

CCleaner also offers safer web browsing and scans your PC, recommending quick fixes to improve its performance.

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After performing the steps above, check to see if you have enough space on the drive where the new OS will be installed. If you answered yes, the Windows 11 free space required error has been resolved.

2. Delete hibernation file

  1. Press the Windows key to open the Start menu.
  2. Type Command Prompt in the search box then right-click it and choose Run as administrator.Command Prompt
  3. Type the following code in Command Prompt and press Enter:
    powercfg.exe /hibernate offpowercfg exe code

When Hibernation activates, it consumes some of the system’s disk space for its files. These files also use about 75% of your computer’s RAM.

Deleting these files will also free up a lot of space on the drive where the operating system is installed.

3. Delete temporary files

  1. Click on the magnifying glass on the taskbar and open File Explorer.File explorer
  2. On the left pane, click on This PC.This PC
  3. Go to the following directory to find the temporary files folder.
    C:\Windows\Temp or C:\%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp 
  4. Select the files in these folders then press Shift + Delete keys to delete them permanently.Deleting temp files

There are many temporary and junk files on your computer or laptop. As you work with your computer daily, these files occupy more and more of your disk space.

You can manually delete junk files from your computer using the steps explained above, or you can leave it to a tool like Windows Disk Cleanup or PC cleaner software.

If you still require additional space, make sure you have all of the following requirements before performing method number four:

  • A second computer or laptop as a bootable drive
  • Two USB flash drive with at least 16GB free space available
  • Two available USB ports on your computer or laptop

4. Install Windows 11 using USB flash drives

Create installation media

  1. Connect one of the two USB flash drives to the second computer or laptop.
  2. Go to Windows 11 download page.
  3. Under Create Windows 11 Installation Media, select Download Now.Create Windows 11 Installation Media
  4. When the download is complete, double-click on the MediaCreationToolW11.exe file to run the tool.
  5. Click on Accept to agree with Microsoft Software License Terms.
  6. Choose the desired language and edition of Windows 11.Choose edition
  7. Hit Next
  8. In the following window, select USB flash drive and click NextSelect Flash Drive option
  9. Select the USB flash drive and select Next
  10. After the process is finished, click on Finish. It may take minutes. 

Installation process

  1. Connect both of the flash drives to your computer.
  2. Hit Windows + E keys to open File Explorer then from the left-hand menu, select This PC.This PC in File Explorer
  3. Select Devices and drives, and then double-click the flash drive containing the Windows 11 installation files.
  4. To start the installation, double-click the setup.exe file.
  5. Then, follow the on-screen instruction. On-screen instructions
  6. When you reach the step entitled Setup needs space to update, click the drop-down next to External Storage Device and select the empty USB flash drive.Setup needs space to update
  7. Click the Next option.
  8. If your computer still has insufficient storage, open the Recycle Bin and Downloads folders, then delete any unnecessary files.Open Download and Recycle bin
  9. Click the Refresh option. Refresh Windows Storage
  10. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process.

This strategy is a safe bet for those who have little storage space on their laptops or computers. You only need to take a few more steps with this method. 

Why does Windows 11 need so much space for installation?

The new Start menu, Action Center, universal media control, ability to run Android apps, revamped Settings app, and other security features are all included in Windows 11.

Thus, it’s reasonable that it takes up a lot of space. However, the most pressing issue is that Windows 11 demands 64 GB of free space before it can be installed.

The main reason is that Windows 11 necessitates a certain amount of free space in order to complete the installation process.

During the installation, for example, data is written and removed, requiring an excessive amount of disk space.

So, over 18 GB can be used at any given time throughout the installation process. As a side note, if you have less than 64 GB of storage, Windows 11 will perform poorly.

To get back to our core issue, you can use built-in tools like the Disk Cleanup app to delete junk files if you get a free space error.

You can also use different third-party software and free up the space needed for Windows 11 to be installed completely on your computer. 

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